Basque mythology

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A reproduction of a Hilarri, a Basque gravestone, from 1736 with commonly found symbols. Tombstone in English: Maria Arros Sagaray died on the 19th day of April, 1736 Obiit.JPG
A reproduction of a Hilarri, a Basque gravestone, from 1736 with commonly found symbols. Tombstone in English: Maria Arros Sagaray died on the 19th day of April, 1736

The mythology of the ancient Basques largely did not survive the arrival of Christianity in the Basque Country between the 4th and 12th century AD. Most of what is known about elements of this original belief system is based on the analysis of legends, the study of place names and scant historical references to pagan rituals practised by the Basques. [1]

Contents

One main figure of this belief system was the female goddess Mari. According to legends collected in the area of Ataun, the other main figure was her consort Sugaar. However, due to the scarcity of the material, it is difficult to say if this would have been the "central pair" of the Basque pantheon. Based on the attributes ascribed to these mythological creatures, this would be considered a chthonic religion as all its characters dwell on earth or below it, with the sky seen mostly as an empty corridor through which the divinities pass. [2]

Historical sources

The main sources for information about non-Christian Basque beliefs are: [3]

Mythological creatures and characters

The Urtzi controversy

Urtzi may or may not have been a Basque mythological figure. There is evidence that can be read as either supporting or contradicting the existence of such a deity. To date neither theory has been able to convince fully. [4]

Influencing other religions

The Iberian Peninsula's Indo-European cultures like the Lusitanians and Celtiberians seem to have a significant Basque substrate in their mythologies. This includes the concept of the Enchanted Mouras, which may be based on the Mairu, [5] and the god Endovelicus, whose name may come from proto-Basque words. [6]

Myths of the historical period

After Christianization, the Basques kept producing and importing myths.

Notes

  1. "The Basque Mythology at the present time" (PDF). KOBIE (Serie Antropología Cultural). Bilbao. Bizkaiko Foru Aldundia-Diputación Foral de Bizkaia. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  2. Lezama Perier, Patxi Xabier. "Euskal Mitologia". Euskaltzaindia. Royal Academy of the Basque Language. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  3. Kasper, M. Baskische Geschichte (1997) Primus ISBN   3-89678-039-5
  4. Trask, L. The History of Basque Routledge: 1997
  5. Anuntxi Arana: Mari, mairu eta beste - 1996 - Bulletin du musée basque n°146.
  6. Encarnação, José d’. 2015. Divindades indígenas sob o domínio romano em Portugal. Second edition. Coimbra: Universidade de Coimbra.

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